Posts Tagged ‘time travel’

Who remembers the WABAC Machine?  This was from Peabody’s Improbable History, a show-within-a show during the Rocky and Bullwinkle cartoons of the 1960s (disclaimer:  I watched the re-runs!).  Peabody would set the WABAC machine to a date in the past, and give unsuspecting viewers a history lesson!  For a blast from the past, read the Wikipedia article on the subject.

A few weeks ago I bought the July/August 2008 issue of Bookmarks magazine, which had an extensive article on Time Travel in a cover-grabbing article called “Great Science Fiction”.  Science fiction, moi?  Apparently, oui, as several books on my bookcase involve the subject of time-travel.

In the past few months I’ve reviewed Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict, a fun novel about a present-day Los Angelean who wakes up in Regency-period England, and Miss Alcott’s E-Mail (here), a clever biography of Louisa May Alcott.

Other time-travel books on Bookmarks’ list include:

  • Time and Again by Jack Finney (I’ve read this one, too!)
  • A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle
  • “A Sound of Thunder” a short story by Ray Bradbury
  • Doomsday Book by Connie Willis
  • The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffeneger

What other time travel books have you read?  Are there other suggestions for a non-science-fiction reader like me?  I enjoyed the three that I’ve read because they focus on the result of the time-travel, not the technical process of getting there …

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  • Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict by Laurie Viera Rigler
  • Publisher: Dutton Adult (August 2, 2007)
  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • ISBN-10: 0525950400
  • SheIsTooFondOfBooks Rating: 4 Stars

    Who is your favorite author?  Does he or she write about a particular time period that appeals to you…one that you could imagine living in?  Laurie Viera Rigler creates this kind of fantasy world in her novel Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict.   She, like the heroine of the novel, is an avowed Jane Austen fan. 

    The novel opens as Courtney Stone, a 30-something contemporary woman, goes to sleep one night with a career and ex-fiance in Los Angeles.  She wakes up in the bed of one Jane Mansfield,  member of an upper-class family in 1813 England.  It takes Courtney several days to accept that this is not a dream, but rather a trip back in time to the Regency period she has so long admired in the novels of Jane Austen.  As intriguing as that premise might have seemed back in L.A. curled up on the couch with Pride and Prejudice, Courtney finds the thought of a never-ending visit to the 19th century a bit intimidating.  Her dry wit and pithy self-talk follows her through peaks and valleys: “…what if it’s forever? – I will not allow myself to entertain that thought.  Yeah, right.  I’m not only entertaining that thought, I’m taking it out to dinner and a movie.”

    It’s very easy to invoke the necessary suspension of disbelief and fall into the rhythms of the novel.  Rigler uses Courtney’s voice as a first-person narrator.  We are privy to not only her thoughts, but her raw emotions and reactions as she encounters obstacles and pleasant surprises.  This is a light-hearted and entertaining journey into an alternate existence.

    Most of the story takes place in the summer of 1813, but there are a few longer flashbacks (flashforwards?) to the circumstances of Courtney’s broken engagement and her subsequent strained relationship with a man she formerly considered a good friend.  This gives the reader the backstory  to Courtney’s present situation; perhaps the key to solving her 21st century “man trouble” lies in helping Jane to sort out her 19th century relationships.  Aside from trying to figure out how and if she can get herself back to her own life, Courtney must make the best choices for Jane Mansfield, whose body and life she has temporary custody of.

    The novel is as interesting and engaging to a Jane Austen novice as it is to a full-fledged fan.  Rigler keeps the storyline accessible to all by using general references to Regency period England as well as more pointed allusions to Austen characters such as the Bennet and Darcy families.  Again, the voice of Courtney Stones blends these mentions seamlessly into the novel; they don’t distract from Rigler’s story. 

    Prior to publishing this first novel, Rigler co-authored two non-fiction books:  He Rents, She Rents, a gender-specific movie rental guide, and Popping the Question, a collection of marriage proposal anecdotes.  She is currently working on a sequel to Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict, which will explain how Jane Mansfield manages Courtney’s life in L.A.  This parallel story is yet-untitled; discussion about possible titles and more information about the author and her work can be found at the Jane Austen Addict website.   I read the book in preparation for a phone-in interview on Book Club Girl.  Jennifer Hart the hostess of BCG conducts author interviews about once a month, and encourages readers to call in with questions for the author.

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